Macaroni?

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Gun Tramp

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From construction records of the Fort Ridgely and South Pass Wagon Road; Project Superintendent William H. Nobles to Secretary of the Interior Jacob Thompson, Minnesota Territory, June 11, 1857:
"In a long journey where hard work independent of fatiguing travel has to be performed a variety & constant change of diet is
indispensable to preserve the health and cheerfulness of the men and I submit that it is no economy to feed your men on pork & beef
for six months without change. For these prudential reasons I laid in a very small stock of antiscorbutic supplies which your clerk thinks
unnecessary. One pound of codfish at 9 cents will go farther for a breakfast meal than two pounds of pork at 13 1/2 cents and a sardine
or herring when you camp late in the evening will satisfy the appetite far better than uncooked beef or pork, and on a Sunday a few
raisins introduced into a palatable dish with a good plate of macaroni soup go a long ways to preserve cheerfulness without which the
duties are performed reluctantly & less work accomplished."
A list of provisions confirmed the pork, beef, and codfish were, of course, salted. My question is, what is known about "macaroni" in the mid-nineteenth century diet? Was it the macaroni of today and is it (pasta?) used in today's camps? The sardines and herring of 1857 sound like a challenge worth experiencing.
Salt, salt salt; over five-hundred pounds of loose salt accompanied the expedition's seventy-five road builders.
 

Tom A Hawk

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From construction records of the Fort Ridgely and South Pass Wagon Road; Project Superintendent William H. Nobles to Secretary of the Interior Jacob Thompson, Minnesota Territory, June 11, 1857:
"In a long journey where hard work independent of fatiguing travel has to be performed a variety & constant change of diet is
indispensable to preserve the health and cheerfulness of the men and I submit that it is no economy to feed your men on pork & beef
for six months without change. For these prudential reasons I laid in a very small stock of antiscorbutic supplies which your clerk thinks
unnecessary. One pound of codfish at 9 cents will go farther for a breakfast meal than two pounds of pork at 13 1/2 cents and a sardine
or herring when you camp late in the evening will satisfy the appetite far better than uncooked beef or pork, and on a Sunday a few
raisins introduced into a palatable dish with a good plate of macaroni soup go a long ways to preserve cheerfulness without which the
duties are performed reluctantly & less work accomplished."
A list of provisions confirmed the pork, beef, and codfish were, of course, salted. My question is, what is known about "macaroni" in the mid-nineteenth century diet? Was it the macaroni of today and is it (pasta?) used in today's camps? The sardines and herring of 1857 sound like a challenge worth experiencing.
Salt, salt salt; over five-hundred pounds of loose salt accompanied the expedition's seventy-five road builders.
I believe Thomas Jefferson is credited with bringing macaroni to America. https://www.history.com/news/thomas-jefferson-americas-pioneering-gourmand
 

Carbon 6

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From Isabella Beeton's book of household management 1861.


74.—MACARONI SOUP.
(Fr.Potage de Macaroni.)

Ingredients.—3 pints of stock made from the bones and trimmings of meat (see Bone Soup), 1 oz. of butter, 1 oz. of flour, 2 ozs. of macaroni, salt and pepper.

Method.—Put the macaroni into boiling salted water and boil quickly until tender (20 to 30 minutes), then cut it into short lengths. Boil the stock, knead the flour and the butter together, add the compound to the stock, and stir until it becomes smoothly mixed with it. Season to taste, put in the macaroni, cook for 5 minutes, and serve.

Time.—40 to 50 minutes. Average Cost, about 2d. without the stock. Seasonable at any time. Sufficient for 6 persons.

Macaroni (Fr. macaroni).—In Italy, and especially with Neapolitans, macaroni is a popular article of food. It is prepared from hard varieties of wheat, which is ground to a fine meal and made into a stiff paste with a small quantity of water. The mass, placed in a hollow, cylindrical vessel, is squeezed through apertures of various sizes by means of a powerful screw. That pressed through
 

Gun Tramp

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Thank you, gents. I found a PDF of Ms. Beeton's work; lots of interesting stuff. For whatever reason, I haven't included pasta in my camp cooking but will sure give it a try.
 

Carbon 6

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If you plan your meals right, one meal or the ingredients will play into the next.
For example:
If you have eggs for breakfast you can save an egg or two and make pasta, flour used to make the pasta can make bread (Regular flour not semolina). Meat or game can be a main course and the bones and leftovers are the basis for soup stock for your macaroni soup.
The combinations and possibilities are endless.

Dumplings or spatzle is also an option.

You can also make a thin English style pancake, roll it up and cut it into noodles and add to soup before serving. very tasty, I do that at home. Fast and easy to make over a fire.
this is known as "Pancake soup" or German Pancake Soup – Flaedlesuppe



 
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Carbon 6

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My campware looks different than yours.
:D Stock photos. (No pun intended.)
We eat with our eyes first, then our nose, then our mouth.
It would look just as tasty in a wooden bowl.
All you need is a skillet to make the pancake, a boiler for the broth, and a bowl.
Pretty much your standard kit.
Adapt it to your pleasure.
 

Gun Tramp

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I think the bowl in the upper image is gorgeous and I can picture it at the table of the superintendent from my quote. That expedition used twenty-six wagons to transport their gear, about what I'll soon need for my stuff.
 

Loyalist Dave

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Just a technical note...

For the folks that may be making some pasta on a home extruding machine, and drying it for future use in camp...,
Experiment with Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, which will be much closer to the flour they would've had easily accessed in the 18th and first half of the 19th century. It will give a different flavor and texture to your "macaroni", or "vermicelli".

From The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy 1767
To Make vermicella [vermicelli]


MIX yolks of eggs and flour together in a pretty stiff paste, so as you can work it up cleverly, and roll it as thin as it is possible to roll the paste. Let it dry in the sun ; when it is quite dry. With a very sharp knife, cut it as thin as possible, and keep it in a dry place. It will run up like little worms, as vermicella does ; though the best way is to run it through a coarse sieve, whilst the paste is soft. If you want some to be made in haste, dry it by the fire, and cut it small. It will dry by the fire in a quarter of an hour. This far exceeds what comes from abroad, being fresher
.

LD
 

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Experiment with Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, which will be much closer to the flour they would've had easily accessed in the 18th and first half of the 19th century. It will give a different flavor and texture to your "macaroni", or "vermicelli".

LD
Perhaps, but pastry flour is made from soft wheat (low protein) Protein (gluten) is what helps noodles retain their shape, chewiness, bite, stretchiness etc.
Isabella's recipe clearly says to use wheat from hard varieties (High protein).

Granted there is a 100 years between recipes.

If you use soft wheat you will definitely need more eggs and salt for a proper noodle. Eggs will change the flavor.

None of this is really bad though, noodles can be made a thousand ways and they are all good.

Anyone make starch noodles ? Really no protein or eggs in those.
 

Loyalist Dave

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In the case of Hannah Glasse's recipe, she had no choice but to use the soft white wheat of the colonies, what we today call whole wheat pastry flour. The hard "Moravian" wheat was an extremely rare cultivar in the colonial period, hence the name. ;) At least from the sources that I read some years ago.

Note she wrote "mix yolk of eggs", not the whole egg, NOR..., and I think this jives with your point about eggs and salt, she doesn't specify how many egg yolks vs. how much flour. o_O

LD
 

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Let me add, that the 1747, 1767, and 1779 editions of The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy only mentions Vermacella, BUT the 1784 edition mentions,

Macaroni Soup
Take three quarts of strong broth, and on of the gravy [brown gravy ??] mixed together ; take half a pound of small pipe-macaroni, and boil it in three quarts of water, with a little butter in it, till it is tender ; then strain it through a sieve, cut it in pieces of about two inches long, but it in your soup, and boil it up for ten minutes, and then send it to table in a tureen, with the crust of a French roll, toasted.


LD
 

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take half a pound of small pipe-macaroni, and boil it in three quarts of water, with a little butter in it, till it is tender ; then strain it through a sieve, cut it in pieces of about two inches long,
LD

From that statement I can deduce that macaroni was made in at least two diameters, was made with high gluten/protein flour, it was extruded vertically, and was sold dried. It was sold by makers, likely by the pound, it was probably longer than 8 inches, and it was easily available.
 

Loyalist Dave

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From that statement I can deduce that macaroni was made in at least two diameters, was made with high gluten/protein flour, it was extruded vertically, and was sold dried. It was sold by makers, likely by the pound, it was probably longer than 8 inches, and it was easily available.
Well Mrs. Glasse does mention that they did have noodles that were imported. "This far exceeds what comes from abroad..." ;) Wheat used for noodles "abroad" was likely from durum wheat, which is harder than the common wheat of the colonial period. I noted that while the cook book kept the recipe for vermicelli, there was no recipe for making macaroni at home. Perhaps it was because the vermicelli recipe was expected to be used..., but it could be because the macaroni needed a special extruder and different wheat.

LD
 

bud in pa

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Being first generation Italian on my mother's side, and having been raised on and taught to cook Italian food, I would suggest that boiling macaroni foe 20 to 30 minutes will leave you a gooey lump of pasta. I boil store bought pasta no more than 8 minutes, to get it aldente . Home made just a couple of minutes until it starts to float to the top. At 75 years of age I think that I can claim some experience at this.:)
 

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I would suggest that boiling macaroni for 20 to 30 minutes will leave you a gooey lump of pasta. .:)
I agree, unless the pasta is made with eggs/lots of eggs, is very thick or is dried using heat, or all of the above.
 

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..., boiling macaroni for 20 to 30 minutes will leave you a gooey lump of pasta...,
Ah yes you have hit upon another one of those problems with 18th century "English" sources for information..., what they called "boiling" was not what we sometimes refer to as a "rolling boil".... You find terms such as "boil it softly" and "boil it gentle". Boil in the case of old cooking instructions sometimes means when the water first shows signs of bubbles forming in the liquid, and other times often means what we call a simmer. Modern directions for Kraft Mac-n-Cheese show, "Boil water in medium saucepan. Stir in macaroni. Cook 7 to 8 min." Now if you put the macaroni in when bubbles first appear in the water, then bring it up to a "moving boil" you may be talking more like 12 minutes...add the fact the macaroni back then was more like very eggy egg noodles as Carbon 6 pointed out, and you get your additional 8 minutes for the full 20, and they didn't apparently like pasta "al dente". ;)

Another problem I've had is trying to make stuff that called for eggs...., my first versions were very eggy flavored...until an excellent cook of 18th century cuisine told me to switch away from modern eggs....grade A large are too large for an 18th century dish. Grade A "medium" eggs are much closer, and yes the Colonial egg dishes made with medium eggs in the quantities specified, are much better (imho).

LD
 
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